1. What does the Safe Harbor Act regulate?
A: The Safe Harbor Act, also known as the European Union Data Protection Directive, went into effect in October 1998. It prohibits the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that do not meet the European "adequacy" standard for privacy protection. While the United States and the European Union share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States takes a different approach to privacy.
2. What, if any, sanctions should be imposed on an on-call physician who fails to respond to such call when requested? Discuss your answer.
A: The question "should" begs a legislative response. From a legal viewpoint, an on-call physician has accepted a duty of care on whomever's behalf he/she is accepting calls. Failure to respond would be a breach of loyalty, as well as an abandonment of the patients -- the former duty could be used to sue the physician for financial damages -- the latter to have the physician's license suspended or revoked.
3. When two physicians have opposing views as to a patients medical needs, what course of action should the patient's attending physician follow?
A: The attending physician must be the final arbiter of his/her patient's care. Failure to make the ultimate decision regardless of conflicting views is malpractice. If the physician is uncertain after consultation with others, then the physician can conduct additional research -- but, the decision is still for the attending to make -- unless the patient disagrees.
4. If a nurse disagrees with a physician's written orders, discuss what action the nurse should take to protect the patients safety?
A: A nurse could confirm the order with the physician, before carrying out the instruction. If the nurse still believes that the instruction is a danger to the patient, then the nurse may want to consult with another physician. Ultimately, if the nurse reasonably believes that the instruction will cause the patient substantial injury or death, then the nurse is obligated to refuse to comply with the instruction. However, if the issue is simply a difference of opinion as to care that may or may not have a serious negative effect, then the nurse must carry out the instruction.
5. Discuss why the prescribing, control, administration, and monitoring of medications is a major area of legal concern for healthcare professionals.
A: Prescription medications reach the market after FDA approval that does not discover all possible dangers/contraindications. Most patients are prescribed more than one medication, and many patients may be ingesting medications or other substances that can interact with a prescription medication. Consequently, the risk of liability for misprescribing is huge -- because the possibility of causing an unintended adverse reaction is always in play. The only way to mitigate this danger is to obtain as much information about the medication and the patient as possible. However, there is no "silver bullet." The risk always remains present.
Hope this helps.
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